Employee Information

Equal employment opportunity laws provide that employers may not retaliate because a person files a discrimination complaint; participates, assists or testifies in an investigation or litigation of a discrimination case; or, reasonably opposes discriminatory employment practices (e.g., 42 USC 2000e-3; 29 USC 215(a)(3)). In Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, this is referred to as Section 704 retaliation. It is independent of whether the employee's first discrimination complaint has merit. The employee has a right to complain about what (s)he considers to be unlawful discrimination, and it is against public policy to punish an employee for exercising that right. Some supervisors and employers may become angry at employees who file employment discrimination cases, and they may take employment actions to punish the complainant. Examples of possible retaliation are actions like unusually poor performance evaluation, harassment, demotion, issuance of written warnings, termination of employment, and negative employment references. Complainants who experience retaliation should contact the appropriate enforcement agencies like the EEOC, and inquire about filing a retaliation charge. Usually a complainant has to file a separate retaliation complaint to protect the option to litigate the retaliation basis in a lawsuit. The retaliation charge also has to be filed timely with the EEOC and state fair employment practices agency.

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